Charlie Elphicke MP writes ...
Giving Teagan a chance
Itís every parentís worst nightmare to see
their child in pain. Yet this is the awful reality Emma Appleby has faced for so
Her beautiful daughter Teagan was born with the rare condition Isodicentric 15,
a severe form of epilepsy. She is wheelchair-bound and can suffer up to 300
seizures a day. Earlier this year she required life-saving treatment five times
in just eight days.
Emma had tried everything to ease her nine-year-old daughterís suffering, as
any parent would. Yet nothing seemed to work. In July she got in touch with me
to see if I could help.
Emma was fighting to get a license granted for little Teagan to have cannabis
oil treatment. With known medication failing, the only other alternative
suggested was for her to have risky procedures on her brain.
I felt strongly that Teagan should be given a chance. We were reading in the
news of other youngsters being granted cannabis oil treatment. Clinical trials
showed it helped dramatically reduce seizures. My view was that if we are
prescribing patients morphine Ė which like heroin, is sourced from opium Ė
then why should we not prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes? This isnít
about legalising cannabis for recreational use Ė that is just an unwelcome
distraction. This is about helping children in severe pain.
Thatís why I urged the Home Secretary to intervene in Teaganís case. And in
October he announced cannabis could be medically-prescribed by specialist
consultants. Yet Teagan's treatment was still delayed, firstly due to
restrictive guidelines drawn up by the NHS and then due to supply issues.
Without the help she needed, Teagan was soon back in intensive care suffering
terrible seizures. I contacted the chief executive of the Trust which runs
Evelina Childen's Hospital where she was being looked after. Kent-based GW
Pharmaceuticals was eventually permitted to supply cannabis-based Epidiolex to
Last week, I visited Emma and Teagan at their home in Aylesham to see how they
were getting on. Teagan sat and watched Mickey Mouse on her iPad while Emma told
me how she had been able to continue on the drug since leaving hospital. Things
have definitely improved but Teagan is still suffering seizures during her
Emmaís next fight is to get the stronger, THC form of cannabis treatment
approved for her daughter, to see if that can put a stop to the seizures
altogether. Emma hopes Teagan will return to school at the brilliant Whitfield
I was struck by how hard Emma has to fight, day in day out, for her daughter Ė
and at times what a lonely and exhausting battle that must be. Yet her love for
Teagan shines through. She will not stop until Teagan gets the help she needs.
I am determined to help. I will do everything I can to make sure the bureaucrats
do not stand in Emma and Teaganís way. Common sense must prevail.
Teagan must be given every chance for a better life.